By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu
Awka, Nov. 20, 2020 The Anambra State Ministry of Works, on Thursday said it spent N13.45 billion on different road projects, erosion control and bridges across the state, in addition to the state’s cargo airport that gulped N7.198 billion.
The commissioner in the ministry, Mr Marcel Ifejiofor, said this at the ongoing engagement with the State House of Assembly Committee on Works, to defend the Ministry’s proposed 2021 budget, in Awka.
“In 2020, the original budget for the ministry was N21.16 billion, the revised was N22.917 billion and the actual expenditure we have recorded from January to September is N20.648 billion.
“On road projects, the sum of N14.5 billion was budgeted and N13.450 billion was spent up on till September, while on airport construction, the sum of N8 billion was budgeted and we have spent N7.298. So, the money yet to be released in the budget is about N2.268 billion.
“In 2020, new roads were awarded and we continued with some old road projects. We also paid some contractors”, Ifejiofor said.
The commissioner noted that the budgetary allocation to road infrastructure in the 2021 proposed budget was inadequate.
“Our budget for 2021 is about N36.6 billion – N31.1 billion for roads, while about N5.7 billion has been proposed for the cargo airport.
“Gov. Willie Obiano has asked us to construct about 50 roads, including bridges across the three Senatorial zones and we are also planning to channel funds as intervention on some erosion sites too.
“Our budget is not going to be adequate because there is so much work to be done. It is through the Ministry of Works that the dividends of democracy are being delivered.
“So, we urge the Assembly to intervene in any way they can to see if our budget can get a boost before it is approved,’’ he said.
Earlier, many lawmakers lamented the state of badly – constructed roads, broken down roads and lack of access roads in most communities in their constituencies.
Mr Lawrence Ezeudu, member representing Dunukofia, Constituency, said there was the need to increase the budget of the ministry to cater for the road infrastructure across the state.
Ezeudu observed that the ministry did not provide the list of road projects and the money spent on each road in 2020.
The House Committee Chairman on Budget and Appropriation, Mr Obinna Emeneka (Anambra East), urged the ministry to ensure equal distribution of road infrastructure based on constituencies.
“Ensure that the 50 roads to be constructed in 2021 is well distributed among the 30 constituencies in the state,’’ Emeneka said.
Dr Tim Ifedioranma, House Committee Chairman on Works, said the budget would not make any significant impact.
He urged the ministry to come up with mechanisms to check and review road construction to ensure quality roads that would stand the test of time.
The chairman also urged the ministry to specify and provide the roads to be constructed, cost implications and the ministry’s debt profile, stressing that the success of an administration is measured by the number and quality of access roads delivered.